Day 267 – What happened that day (pt. 1)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Day 267
6:25 pm

What happened that day (pt. 1)

Auntie handed me
a big pack of Carefree
peppermint gum
before the beginning
of my Grandpa’s
funeral

I was four years old
and she was my supplier

butterscotch hard candies,
Lifesavers, Tootsie Roll Pops,
all of whose wrappers
ended up in my pockets
or behind the big
green couch at home
because I was privy
to the black hole
back there and no one
would find them the way
they might if I threw them
in any of the trash bins
around the house

I also understood Auntie
knew she wasn’t supposed
to keep giving me all that
candy

thus her winks and me
flashing her a smile of
thanks, quickly followed by
my straight face and swift
hands busily stuffing the
jacket pockets I made sure
to empty whenever I knew
we’d be seeing Auntie Linda

that day of my grandpa’s
funeral
I knew everyone was unhappy
I knew it wasn’t right,
the way he died

and there was a methodology
in place on that day in temple

incense smoke all around,
chanting, bells, an endless line
of people walking to the front
and one after the other,
I chewed a new piece of gum
as soon as the one before
lost its flavor
one by one, watching
the procession until the
whole pack was done

I don’t remember what I
did with the wrappers

but I do remember
how weird it was to see
my grandpa in a casket,
how it hurt to be lifted
underneath my armpits by
someone’s bony fingers
to look at him lying there,
dead

I remember looking
to see if he looked the same
in death as in life

I remember hearing mom
crying in screams

I remember
how excited I was
to see my Auntie

I remember
concentrating
on that gum

tkk

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About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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